Introduction: Improved Motorized Gigapan Gear [UPDATED!]

About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, now I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a passi…

To make impressive gigapixel images with much more resolution I needed to increase the number of photos per line, i.e. the number of teeth of my DIY gigapan motorized gear.
There were two ways: to enlarge the diameter of the gear (but so I'd have also to build a longer brace between tripod and motor), or to try to make much little teeth on the same diameter. Second choice should have been impossible to make by hand, but with a laser cutter perspex plate it has become reality (thanks to Waldy which helped me).

Step 1: Laser Cutter Absolutely Needed!

There are 90 teeth on this cog, so that means 50% more that the original 60 teeth one. The teeth actually are only 1mm thick, so you need a material like perspex which is very strong, and unless the gear falls down, there shouldn't be damages. The plastic of my old gears was much easy to cut by hand but was also more weak.
I attach the dxf file with all three cogs so that you can see or utilize it to make something similar.

Step 2: The Transparent Gears

I've refined with a file the socket for the locking bolt of the tripod head. After removing the protection film you'll see that transparent gear are simply great! 

Step 3: The Metal Handy Connection

To connect the two halves I can use the same metal staples I've already done in my previous instructable.
You see how the metal locking bolt pipe remains in the socket I've created in the inner circumference. There is a thin black rubber band between the tripod head and the gear, so it's tightly steady.

Step 4: Dismounting the Motor Unit

To let the gear set working right I've to make another modification on the motor cog.
The issue is that the little nail which push the teeth has to make a shorter route because the teeth are much smaller, so closer each other than before.
On the same time I want to keep the chance to use any of my three gear sets, so I've decided to add a nail behind th exeisting one.
So let's take the motor gear apart.

Step 5: Adding a Second Nail

On the white gear let's make an hole at the nail side. I've used a little hand-drill.
We also need a steel big paper clip, which is soft enough to bend, and with the help of the pliers curve it two times at 90°. The purpose is to make it reaching the back side of the existing nail, and exceed it in height, as you'll see in next pictures. After bending the clip cut it at the length of the new hole.

Step 6: Mounting Everything Back

After glueing the new spike and assembling everything you'll see that it works great!
Indeed locking the motor unit a little lower than before we obtain exactly what we wished: the new nail will push a tooth after the other, leaving the old nail under them.

Step 7: Let's Speed Up at the New Gear!

The gigapan motorized gear has now a new option, I can use 250-280mm zoom length on my Canon, and with the crop factor of 1.6 it means a 400mm lens! The panoramas will be huge!
As soon the weather decides to stop pouring I'll test it and I'll upload a new image on my Gigapan page.
I hope you'll be able to make a motorized gear like this one, so let me know :-)

Step 8: [update] the Panorama

The last gigapan is not so impressive as the Alpi view, but it's a fast test to be sure the new equipment works well. Of course everything is perfect! ;-) You can see the huge S.Siro stadium of Milan. Bye!

I've made a gourgeous 6 gigapixel panorama of the roof of a beautiful little city near Milan. This city is Vigevano, and it has a lovely Cathedral and a long central square. See it in detail here: Vigevano roofs.
If you then want to see an interesting 3 gigapixel panorama of the roofs of Genoa, this is also made with this gear.

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V